The Labor Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is sponsoring “Visions of Labor: Film and Worker Voices,” a multi-faceted project that employs the power of worker stories, told through film and video, to inspire reflection and creative action. In the project’s initial stages in early 2019, workers will create digital stories depicting their own critical moments of transformation and action. The Center will also be putting out a call for film and video submissions that have recorded worker actions and activities, particularly in the Pioneer Valley.
On November 9-10, 2019, workers and activists who work with--or are interested in working with and learning about--workers will gather at the University to view the digital stories and selected submissions, along with new and classic labor films, at an interactive event designed to use these films as a basis for discussing critical issues and actions in labor’s past, present and future. Event workshops will begin with films that raise important questions and reflect a variety of historical and present-day contexts, campaigns, and worker experiences, and they will be followed by small group discussion led by skilled facilitators with knowledge and experience in relevant areas. The films shown will reflect the diversity of the labor movement and working people and will raise issues of the many ways in which worker voices can be effectively heard, particularly through the power of the film and video medium.
The Center is working to broadly involve local worker, activist, and academic communities in the November conference and to create related “Visions of Labor” activities in local worker and academic communities prior to the conference. We are reaching out to involve students, faculty, social justice activists, and others who already are working with workers or want to, are interested in engaging with workers on critical labor issues, and/or are interested in hearing, recording, and preserving worker stories. To help ensure conference attendance and participation is free of charge to all, we have already obtained support from Mass Humanities and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, as well as from the Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice.